The Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated bank (ECAB) has once again demonstrated what it is to be a good corporate citizen by its donation of twenty-five thousand dollars to the Covid-19 Relief Grant Aquaponics Programme; a project being spearheaded by the Ministry of Social Transformation, Human Resource Development and the Blue Economy.
This money will afford five households the opportunity to set up their own aquaponics systems allowing them to become self-reliant especially during these unprecedented times.
During a short handover ceremony on Tuesday at the Lincolns Farm in Newfield, Minister of Social Transformation, Human Resource Development and the Blue Economy, the Hon. Dean Jonas expressed gratitude to the bank for its commitment to ensuring that Antiguans and Barbudans remain resilient even during these times.
He encouraged persons especially those with disabilities to become involved in aquaponics as it is less labour intensive as opposed to the traditional method of farming.
“For persons who are disabled, because of the low requirement for back breaking work, many persons with disabilities can become involved, this will be my Ministry’s focus going forward”, the Minister said.
Minister Jonas added that there are many benefits to be derived from aquaponics and has called on others to jump onboard as food security should be our main aim at this time.
“Aquaponics is growing rapidly across the world and we want local entrepreneurs to realize that there is an opportunity here for the year round growing of plants and animals for food production as food security must become a priority here for us in Antigua and Barbuda”, he noted.
Meantime Manager of ECAB Mr. Michael Spencer says that this year has been one of challenges almost on every front in our beloved country of Antigua and Barbuda. However he noted that rather than succumbing to these challenges, our people and institutions have been inspired to respond in ways that were never anticipated or thought possible.
Making reference to the partnership between his institution and the Ministry of Social Transformation, Mr. Spencer stated that it is indeed timely given the impact COVID-19 had on the country’s food supply over the past few months.
“By ensuring the success of this initiative, Antigua and Barbuda will be less reliant on external sources for produce. It is also impressive, that the goal will be achieved by employing the modern day technique of farming”, stated.
Spencer added, “This initiative will place the participants in a winning position to provide for their families through food security, income generation and healthier diets.”
“Additionally we anticipate that the initiative will foster community development as the program participants will share their knowledge and their skills acquired through this project”, Spencer concluded.
To prepare for the project, the participants have been involved in a rigorous training programme, facilitated by Mr. Wayne Gardner owner of Lincolns Aquaponics Farm in New Field.
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